by Donald Wood
Last updated: 9:05 AM ET, Tue May 23, 2023
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced
that it is prepared to screen a high number of passengers at airport security
checkpoints across the United States during the busy summer travel season.
TSA officials said they expect to screen approximately 2.6
million passengers on May 26, the busiest day of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.
To help accommodate the rush of travelers, the agency revealed that teenagers
aged 13-17 may accompany PreCheck-enrolled parents or guardians through screening
when booked on the same reservation.
TSA officials are pushing for travelers to enroll for a
five-year membership in PreCheck for $78, a decision that will provide
passengers with faster checkpoint screening. In April, 94 percent of PreCheck
passengers waited less than five minutes at the checkpoint.
“TSA is ready to handle this summer’s anticipated increase
in travel,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “Our staffing levels are
better and this is largely due to better pay for all TSA employees which starts
on July 1.”
“Our strong partnerships with airports and airlines will
ensure we are able to anticipate and respond to changes in passenger travel
throughout the summer,” Pekoske said.
To enhance security effectiveness and efficiency, TSA is
deploying new technology solutions nationwide, including Credential
Authentication Technology (CAT) units used to confirm the authenticity of a
passenger’s identification credentials, flight details and pre-screening status
Agents are advising travelers to begin packing for travel
with an empty bag, as they will be less likely to be stopped at the security
checkpoint for having prohibited items. While passengers may travel with a
firearm if properly packed in checked baggage and declared with the airline, undeclared
weapons are forbidden at security checkpoints and onboard aircraft.
Airports will be busy, so TSA officials are advising people
to give themselves plenty of time to park or return a rental car, take a
shuttle to the airport, check in with the airline, check bags and prepare for
the security checkpoint.
One of the most important pieces of advice that seems to be
lost on the general public is to respect TSA and other frontline airport and
airline employees. They are there for the safety and security of all
passengers, and violence and unruly behavior toward them is unacceptable.
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